Mina Foundation Raises $92M to Accelerate Adoption of Zero-Knowledge Proofs

The terms of the token sale were not disclosed but FTX Ventures and Three Arrows Capital led the effort.

AccessTimeIconMar 17, 2022 at 4:02 p.m. UTC
Updated Mar 17, 2022 at 6:38 p.m. UTC

Andrew Thurman was a tech reporter at CoinDesk with a focus on DeFi.

Zero-knowledge proofs took a step forward Thursday with a $92 million token sale to accelerate adoption for the Mina protocol.

The round was led by FTX Ventures and Three Arrows Capital, with the raise representing FTX Venture’s first investment in a zero-knowledge project. Other participants include Alan Howard, Amber Group, Blockchain.com, Brevan Howard, Circle Ventures, Finality Capital Partners and Pantera.

“The main opportunity here is to be able to program with zero knowledge for regular developers,” Mina Foundation CEO Evan Shapiro said in an interview with CoinDesk.

He added: “Historically, this hasn't been possible. You had to be a cryptographer that also happened to be super good at the kinds of programming you need to work with zero-knowledge proofs. What makes this exciting is any developer who knows JavaScript can now work with ZK proofs.”

Shapiro declined to share the price at which the tokens were sold or the percentage of the Mina Foundation treasury the round represents.

Grant program

According to Shapiro, the network soft-launched in December 2021, and the team has been slowly raising production ever since.

“The main function of the raise is to increase our capacity to give out grants to proposals that can help support the protocol,” he said.

So far, “1,100 or so” grantees have received funds, and the team saw over 100 applications for its “ZK Bootcamp” application development program, of which the foundation selected a dozen to nurture.

An identity solution, multiple games and a “highly scalable layer 2” system count among the first cohort, and Shapiro said he expects to see many of them reach production within the next six months.

Other promising zero-knowledge applications include “a [decentralized finance] app that has a form of identity of private [know your customer],” private decentralized autonomous organization (DAO) transactions and memberships, and private non-fungible token (NFT) ownership – all of which are frequently requested features among users and developers.

“This is a special moment where zero-knowledge proofs are becoming something that people can generally use, and not just select developers. That’s an exciting thing for Mina and for the space,” Shapiro said.

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Andrew Thurman was a tech reporter at CoinDesk with a focus on DeFi.

CoinDesk - Unknown

Andrew Thurman was a tech reporter at CoinDesk with a focus on DeFi.